TAMWORTH District Cricket Association will have two English “imports” playing in its four-grade six-club competition when the new season kicks off this Saturday.
While Callum Rowe returns for a second season with Bective-East Bulls after turning out four seasons ago North Tamworth Redbacks have their own Englishman, 20-year-old Stewart Plant.
He too is from Bollington and comes to Tamworth through the bonds forged by the likes of Adam Jones and North skipper Michael Rixon playing for the English club.
Stewart remembers the Tamworth tour to England as well and the unfortunate wash-out of the Tamworth Bollington game.
“I was a bit young to go to the pub with them,” he said of what was a long and emotional mini tour and inter-town bonding session.
This journalist saw that “pub crawl” unfold first hand and can confirm some serious cementing of international friendship by such notables as former TDCA president Terry Psarakis, bowling machine Andrew Clements and young allrounder Isaac Kensell.
Plant then saw Tamworth top order batsman Michael Rixon play for Bollington a couple of seasons back.
The North Tamworth captain was instrumental in enticing the young left arm orthodox spinner to Tamworth.
“They got me to come over and play here,” Plant told The Leader on the weekend.
“I’m a spinner who bats a bit.
“I got here last Saturday and played in the Division 2 Norths team.”
Stewart has been playing for Bollington since he was 16 and unfortunately they were relegated to the Division 1 of the Cheshire County Cricket last season.
He’s hoping for better success with a North Tamworth Redbacks who won last season’s TDCA first grade premiership.
He scored runs and took wickets in almost every game the Division 2 Norths side played in last weekend. Bective-East won the Division 2 Final from Old Boys while North Tamworth beat City United in the Division 1 Big Bash final.
That was a fun way to preview the new season and gave a few batsmen a bit of time in the middle.
This weekend the more serious stuff begins when the top three grades in the six-team TDCA competition start their new season with 40 over-a-side games.
FIRST ROUND TDCA
FIRST GRADE: South Tamworth v North Tamworth ( No 1 Oval): Mark Mitchell, Paul Purdy; Old Boys v Bective East (Dick Edwards Oval): Dan O’Connor, Steve Lalor; West Tamworth v City United (Scully Park): John Thompson, Leon Erich. SECOND GRADE: South Tamworth v North Tamworth (TRECC): Simon Hood, Arthur Yates; Old Boys v Bective (Riverside 2): Trevor Perry, Noel Cook; Wests v City (Chaffey Park): Bruce Skewes, Peter Coote. THIRD GRADE: South Tamworth v North Tamworth (Riverside 5): Tiny Collins, Graeme Solomon; Old Boys v Bective (Max Sutton Oval): Geoff Hoy, Mick
Shelton; Wests v City (Belmore Park): Doug Crowell.